Burkitsville, Indiana One Year Ago
Vince and Holly Parker, a newlywed couple lost on the highway, stop in at the local store. Emily and Stacey Jorgenson, two of the owners, convince them to take some apple pie with them. Holly takes the pie as the father, Harley, finishes filling their car up with gas. Vince shakes Harley's hand, and the daughter, Emily, comments on Vince's arm tattoo. Stacey and Harley give them directions to the interstate and the couple goes on their ways.
The indicated route takes them down a country road, and their car dies halfway. They spot a house on the other side of a nearby orchard, and Holly reluctantly goes with Vince to get help. As they walk through the orchard, they come across a man-like figure in an overcoat suspended on a post. They take a closer look and realize that the figure is a scarecrow, As they walk away, Holly jumps when she thinks that the scarecrow moved. They continue walking through the orchard, but hear breaking branches and a growling noise. Holly pulls ahead but then turns back and realizes that Vince has disappeared. Something moves in on her, and she runs back the way she came as something follows her. She finally trips and discovers Vince's corpse, his face stripped of its skin. A figure closes in on her and her screams die away.
The phone rings at the motel where Dean and Sam are sleeping. Sam answers the phone and John asks Sam how they are. He assures his son that he's all right, and makes sure that Sam and Dean are okay. As Dean wakes up, John says that he can't say where he is at, and Sam realizes that he’s after the demon that killed their mother. He also knows what happened to Jessica, and the demon killed her as well. John tells Sam that they need to stop looking for him, and tries to give Sam a list of names. When Sam tries to get more answers, John makes it an order and tells him to do his job. Dean finally grabs the phone away from Sam and asks his father where he is. He immediately follows orders and writes down the names.
The brothers hit the road and discuss the list of names. They belong to three couples who all disappeared during a cross-country road trip. All of the couples came from different parts of the U.S., but each passed through a small town in Indiana during the second week of April, one each year. Angry, Sam stops the Impala and says that they’re not going to Indiana, they’re going to California to find their father using athe area code of the Sacramento phone booth that he used. Dean tells him that their father doesn’t want help, but Sam doesn't care and refuses to obey John's orders. Sam tells Dean that he was only four when their mother died, but Jessica was killed six months ago, so this means a lot more to him than it ever could to Dean. Dean continues to argue for their father, figuring he knows something they don't, and Sam begins to question Dean’s blind faith in their father. Dean snaps that “it’s called being a good son” and Sam gets out of the car. He grabs his bags out of the trunk as Dean calls him a selfish bastard. Sam walks away as Dean gets in the Impala and drives away.
The next morning, Dean pulls up to to a café in Burkitsville. Dean pulls his cell phone out and scrolls down his contacts, and considers calling Sam but then puts the phone away. He talks to the owner, Scotty, and introduces himself as John Bonham. The man recognzies his alias as the drummer from Led Zeppelin. Dean hands him a flyer about the missing couple, claiming they're friends, but gets no response. When Dean says that he checked out the nearby towns, the man says that they don't get many strangers. He tells the man that he’s already checked out Scottsburg and Salem. The man still doesn’t respond, and Dean cracks wise and walks away.
Sam walks down the road until he comes across a blonde girl sitting on the curb listening to her headphones. Sam tries to get her attention, but she can’t hear him over her loud music. She jumps a little when Sam taps her on the shoulder. They chat about hitchhiking until a van pulls up and offers the girl a ride. Unimpressed with Sam, she says she'd rather trust the shady van guy then Sam. The driver refuses to take Sam, and the girl leaves with him.
Dean goes to the Jorgeson General General Store, but Stacey and Harley say they never saw the Parkers. However, Emily remembers Vince's distinctive tattoo and reminds her father about theencounter. Harley gives Dean the directions he provided to the Parkers and Dean follows the route. As he drives, his EMF meter goes off, and he stops to investigate. He checks ouit the orchard and finds the scar ecrow. While walking through the orchard, he comes across the leather-faced scarecrow. Dean grabs a ladder to get a closer look at the scarecrow, and notices something on its arm. He pulls it up and discovers it has the same tattoo that Vince had.
In town, Dean goes back to the general store and asks Emily for gas. She talks about how she lost her parents in a car crash, and Harley and Stacey are her uncles. Emily insists that it’s a great town and that it's blessed compare to the other nearby towns. Dean asks her about the orchard and the scarecrow, but she doesn't know who it belongs to. As they talk, Dean notices that a couple’s car has broken down and is at the general store for repairs.
At the bus station, Sam discovers that the next bus for Sacramento doesn’t leave until 5 the next day. He turns away and pulls out his cell phone, and scrolls down his contact list until he comes to “Dean." He starts to dial Dean until he sees the hitchhiker girl sitting in the station. Sam asks what happened to her ride, and she admits that he was shady. They talk about how they're both heading to California, and she wonders why Sam is in a hurry to get there. She figures it can wait one more day, and introduces herself as Meg.
Inside the café, Scotty is offering his famous apple pie to the couple. Dean enters and orders some coffee, and tries to start up a conversation with the stranded couple, Pauly and Steve. Scotty, the café owner, tries to interrupt their conversation, but Dean ignores him. The couple explain that they stopped for gas, and Scotty told them they had a leaking brake line. He told them that it would take until sundown to get it fixed. realizing something is up, Dean offers to fix it for them for free. They'd prefer to have a mechanic do it, and Dean tries to suggest that the road aren't safe at night. The couple think Dean is acting creepy, and he admits that his brother could have got them to listen. The sheriff arrives at Scotty's call and approaches Dean, asking for a word. A few minutes later, the sheriff escorts Dean out of town.
Sam and Meg are eating. Meg talks about how she left her family because they were too demanding. Sam sympathizes and tells her about Dean and how he felt that he needed to get away from him. Meg raises her beer and offers to a toast to independence, and Sam joins her.
That night, Dean returns to Burkitsville. The couple are in the orchard, complaining about how their car broke down again. As they walk through the orchard, they hear noises behind them. The screacrow closs in on them and they turn to run. They run into Dean, wielding a shotgun, and he tells them to get back to their car. He shoots the scarecrow three times in the chest but it keep scoming. They make it to the car and discover that the scarecrow has vanished.
Meg is sleeping on the bus station floor when Dean finally calls Sam to tell him what's going on. Dean tells him about the scarecrow and they discuss what could be animating it. They decide that the scarecrow is probably possessed by a god, and each couple is an annual sacrifice given a final meal. in return for the sacrifice, the townsfolk get perfect crops and good healkth. Dean tells Sam that he’s on his way to meet with a professor at a community college since he doesn’t have Sam to do the research. They apologize to each other for the fight that they had, and Dean admits that he admires Sammy for standing up toi John. He tells Sam to take care of himself, and call him when he finds their father. As Sam hangs up, Meg wakes up and asks who he was talking to. Sam tells her it was her brother and she asked what he said. Sam says that he said goodbye.
At the community college, Dean talks to a professor about local lore and pagan idolatry, and suggests that something may have been imported. The professor admits that they immigrated from Scandinavia, and finds a book with a picture of a scarecrow. It talks about a Vanir god that assures protection and prosperity, and whose energy sprung from a sacred tree. Dean theorize about how to kill the scarecrow and the professor laughs, telling Dean that it’s only a legend. As Dean goes out the door, the sheriff clubs him unconscious.
Back in Burkitsville, Scotty and the sheriff meet with Harley and Stacey. Harley says that he's the one who directs the couples to the orchard, but is reluctant to actually commit murder himself. Stacey warns that the trees are beginning to die because the god is angry with them, and that night is the last night of the seven-day cycle. Harley is okay with Dean dying, but questions them sacrificing Emily. A little later, they take Emily down into the cellar where Dean is being held, insisting that it’s for the “common good."
Meg tells Sam that their bus came in. However, Sam tells her that he has to go find Dean since he’s not answer Sam's calls. Meg tries to convince Sam to come with her, pointing out that he's running back to Dean, and invites him to come to California with her. Sam refuses to change his mind, and says that Dean is family.
In the cellar, Emily asks Dean if they’re going to kill them. Dean informs her that they’re going to sacrifice them, and realizes she knew nothing about the Vanir. He tells her that she needs to start believing, and they need to find the sacred tree. He asks her which tree they treat with the most respect, and Emily says she knows that the immigrants brought a First Tree, but isn't sure where it is. The townsfolk arrive and tell thatm that it's time. At the orchard, the townsfolk tie them up near the scarecrow. The sheriff insists that he and the others don't kill the sacrifices, their god does. Emily begs her uncle not to kill her, but Stacey insists that it's their responsibility and they're out of options. When the foursome leaves, Dean tries to come up with a plan, but by nightfall, he's still got nothing. They hear footsteps behind them and Emily begins to panic, but it’s only Sam. He unties Emily and Dean and tells Dean that he doesn’t see the scarecrow. They realize that the scarecrow has left its post.
Emily, Sam, and Dean run through the forest, and Dean figures they can look for the First Tree in the morning. However, the townsfolk are waiting for them. Emily begs her uncle to let them go, but he insists that the Vanir has to take them. As he talks to her, the scarecrow impales him with its sickel. It grabs Stacey and drags Hayley's corpse into the woods, while the sheriff and Scotty run off.
The next morning, Emily, Dean, and Sam find the First Tree. They douse it in gasoline and Emily insists on setting the fire, even though she knows the town will die. Afterward, Dean and Sam take Emily to the bus station so she can head for Boston. Once it leaves, Sam wonders if the rest of the townspeople will get away with it, and Dean figures what happens to the town will be punishment enough. Dean asks Sam where he should drop him off, and Sam says that he's staying on. He tells his brother that he wants to find John, and Dean is still a pain in the ass, but Jessica and Mom are gone. With John missing, all that is left are the two of them. Besides, Dean would have been dead withouit him.
Another driver has picked up Meg as she hitchhikes. She asks the driver to pull over. Once he does, she takes a silver chalice out of her bag. Before he can react, she cuts the man’s throat and casually collects the blood in the chalice. Meg then dips a finger in the blood and utters an incantation. A demonic presence enters the blood and she begins talking into it, asking why she wasn't allowed to stop Sam and Dean when she had the chance. She gets an unspoken response, agrees with it, and addresses the presence on the other end as "father."
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